Question:    Can I change my child’s surname to my new partner’s surname?

Answer:       The short answer is “yes”, with the consent of your child’s biological father.  

If the father does not consent, the answer is more complicated.  Court action will be required to obtain an Order allowing you to make an application to the Registry of Births,  Deaths and Marriages to change the child’s registered name.  The father may strongly argue against your request.

When deciding the matter, the Court considers the welfare of the child as the most important factor to be considered.  When considering this, the Court looks at issues such as the short and long term effects of any change in the child’s surname, the effect of a change of name on the relationship between the child and the other parent, the contact the child has now with the other party and is likely to have in the future, the level of identification the child has with both parents and relevant step parents, the view of the other party to the proposed name change and the advantages (short and long term) of the name remaining unchanged.

A change of surname for a child is a very significant matter.  It requires proper consideration and warrants legal advice.

Vicki Andrews

Associate Solicitor – Family Law and Estates Law – Contact 4655 3077